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New Balance furloughs workers, cuts salaries in coronavirus downturn

The New Balance World Headquarters at the Boston Landing complex in Brighton.
The New Balance World Headquarters at the Boston Landing complex in Brighton.Craig F. Walker/GLOBE STAFF

Boston-based New Balance is the latest retail company to announce furloughs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the rapid economic downturn related to COVID-19 and its impact on our business, we have made the extremely difficult decision to furlough a portion of our owned retail, factory, and office workforce,” chief executive Joe Preston wrote in a news release Tuesday night.

The athletic footwear and apparel company declined to disclose when the furloughs will go into effect and how many of its employees will be impacted by the decision. New Balance already had closed its corporate-owned retail locations and manufacturing factories when Governor Charlie Baker ordered all nonessential businesses to close.

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Some New Balance factory associates are still on the job producing general-use face masks in the company’s Lawrence and Norridgewock, Maine, factories. New Balance employs about 1,300 workers across its three factories in Maine and two factories in Massachusetts.

Preston said the company expects to produce 100,000 masks weekly.

The privately held company also announced that the salaries of some senior-level associates will be reduced and that Preston will collect half of his salary indefinitely.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.